Did you decide to spend a couple of days in Cyprus? Great!
Before you visit Cyprus, there are a few things you should know in advance.
This blog post includes all the useful information to make your dream trip as smooth as possible and to learn more about the small country in the Mediterranean Sea!
Btw, it’s never a mistake to check out a complete Cyprus travel guide to find the best accommodations, restaurants, beaches, etc.!
(This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a certain percentage of a sale if you purchase after clicking.)
1. Cyprus is Part of The European Union
Despite its location close to Turkey; Lebanon and Syria, Cyprus is a European country and part of the European Union since May 2004.
Even though the country is divided (I’ll talk about this later on in this post), the whole of the country is EU territory.
Most of the countries belonging to the EU use the Euro as currency and so does Cyprus. Since 2008, it’s been the country’s official currency, replacing the old one called the Cypriot pound or lira.
In the northern part of the island tho, the official currency is the Turkish lira (another fact, I’ll explain soon).
If you live in the EU, USA, Canada, Australia or the UK you don’t need a visa if you visit Cyprus.
However, if you’re a non-EU visitor, you need a passport valid for at least three months from the date of entry (six months if you’re from Australia). Visitors from the EU need a valid passport for the duration of their stay only.
The fact you (probably) don’t need a visa makes traveling to Cyprus really easy. But if you plan on staying more than 90 days in the country, you have to get a registration certificate.
If you want to get more information about all the requirements and visa applications on the Cyprus Visa website.
2. The Country is Divided Into Two Parts
Cyprus’ modern history has always been full of tensions between the Greek and Turkish people living there.
In 1974, Turkey invaded the northern part of Cyprus – apparently in response to a military coup on the island by the Greek government.
Since then, the country has been divided and the Turkish Cypriot government now runs the northern third whereas the Greek Cypriots lead the two-thirds in the south.
Its capital city Nicosia is the last divided city in the entire world.
Being divided into two parts also means the country has two different official languages. In the south, the everyday spoken language is Cypriot Greek whereas, in the north, people communicate in Cypriot Turkish.
3. There’s Left-Hand Traffic
Something I hadn’t known before and found out only shortly after we booked our rental car for our road trip in Cyprus is that there’s left-hand traffic.
For someone who hardly drives long distances not to mention on a motorway – well, it was a real shock. Nevertheless, I drove most of the time and it was better than I’d expected.
If you’re from the UK, Malta, Australia, India, etc. great, you’re already used to it. But if you’re used to driving on the right side of the road like me, it can be quite a challenge.
The best is if you rent an automatic car – you can do that beforehand, for example via rentalcars.com – and always stay on the left side!
Plus don’t forget the turn indicators are on the right and windscreen wipers on the left side of the steering wheel.
Tours you might find interesting:
The speed limits in Cyprus are
100 km/h on motorways
80 km/h on other roads
50 km/h in built-up areas.
If you drive 100 km/h on the motorway you’ll probably see many cars pass you at a higher speed. Apparently, police only stop you if you exceed 120 km/h but there’s a huge number of mobile speed checks.
4. Sockets and Power Plugs Are of Type G
The left-hand traffic isn’t the only thing Cyprus got from the British colonization back then.
Like in the UK, the power plugs and sockets are of type G.
So if you visit Cyprus and you’re not from the UK, don’t forget to pack an adapter!
If you’re from Europe, Australia or Asia you can easily use your electric appliances in Cyprus because the standard volt is 240 V and the frequency is 50 Hz.
However, if you’re from the US, Canada or South America you’ll need a voltage converter.
5. The Island is The Birthplace of Aphrodite
Even though Aphrodite is a Greek goddess, her birthplace is said to be Cyprus.
A geological formation of huge rocks named “Petra tou Romiou” along a beautiful coastline is the place where Aphrodite was born.
According to legends, the Greek goddess rose from the waves and was then brought on a shell to this specific beach.
Some popular myths say that if you swim around the rock three times it’ll bring you eternal youth, good luck, fertility, true love, and beauty!
Who wants to give it a try?
6. Temperature Differences Can be Significant
I learned during my time in Cyprus that temperature could vary a lot depending on which part of the island you are in.
For example, if you visit Cyprus in winter and want to explore the Troodos Mountains, be prepared for temperatures around zero and icy wind.
I really underestimated these temperature differences and didn’t pack enough warm clothes.
The day we went to the mountains the weather in Larnaca was really warm with temperatures around 15 degrees Celsius. Whereas in the mountains they were as slow as 5 degrees Celsius with a strong wind.
Even if you visit Cyprus in summer, don’t forget to pack appropriate clothes if you want to explore the higher-located parts of the island as well.
7. Getting Drunk in Public is a No-Go
Enjoying a glass of wine or one or two cocktails with some friends in a Cypriot bar is completely acceptable and that’s what locals do too. However, public binge drinking is mostly considered shameful and frowned upon.
This is mostly because certain parts of Cyprus are Muslim whereas other parts are Greek Orthodox.
So if you don’t want to attract public attention and people staring at you avoid getting drunk.
8. Cypriots Are Very Helpful People
Last but not least, there’s one thing you’ll recognize very fast if you visit Cyprus: Cypriots are SUPER friendly and helpful!
On our first day on the island, we were looking for our apartment but couldn’t find it. A man who saw how desperate we were, approached us and offered his help. Thanks to him, we found our apartment only a few minutes later.
Tours you might find interesting:
Another time when we walked down the road to the sea caves, a small bus stopped next to us. It was a tour guide showing tourists around and he insisted on taking us with him the rest of the way.
It was such a nice and kind gesture, we couldn’t thank him enough. He even offered us two free spots for the rest of his tour but we rejected them since we had other plans.
Be prepared for a heartily welcome in Cyprus! 🙂
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Do you want to travel like me?
Here are some of my favorite travel tips and resources:
Flights: I prefer using CheapOair or Skyscanner to book flights. The destination everywhere feature is perfect for finding some cheap deals!
Accommodation: Booking.com is my favorite site to find some great hotel deals. I do love staying at a local place as well, thus I book an Airbnb every now and then.
Travel Insurance: There are many reasons why travel insurance is important and I never travel without having one. I use the simple and flexible one from World Nomads to be protected against unforeseen events.
Tours: I love taking tours to explore destinations like a local. My favorite website to book them in advance is GetYourGuide.
Camera Gear: I use a Nikon D5300 camera with an 18-105 mm and a 10-20 mm wide-angle lens to take my photos.